The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 12

    Falls

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 9

    Groped

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 4

    Burns

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness